Most asked questions about International Student Life in Germany

international student life
Masters Degree / Bachelors Degree

Most asked questions about International Student Life in Germany

When choosing to study in Germany for your master’s or bachelor’s degree, you might be curious about many points when it comes to international student life. They may even be dealbreakers when it comes to making your choice about which are the top study destinations for you, Germany included. Luckily, Uni-app can help make the process a breeze when choosing where to study a master’s degree or any other kind of degree. Read on to discover what the most asked questions are about international student life in Germany and the answers to these questions.

Why should I study in Germany? 

The first question typically asked when it comes to international student life is why I should study in Germany. There are many reasons fo this with German universities being some of the top-ranked in the world in most study fields. The degrees are recognised around the world for being excellent.

Furthermore, the main principle followed by German higher education institutes is the ‘The Unity of Teaching and Research’, sometimes called the dual education system. This means there’s a strong focus on practical involvement of the student and internships, as well as theoretical learning. Universities in Germany tend to want students to apply what they learn theoretically so it really sinks in. You’ll also have access to cutting edge research facilities and some of the top faculty worldwide. 


Read more: Why Study an Art Master’s Degree in Berlin in 2023?

Are German people unfriendly and racist?

Another stereotype that most people ask about is about the German people, and whether they are unfriendly and racist. At Universities, you’ll find that the staff is friendly and helpful, especially because they deal with a lot of international students every year. In fact, most universities have a special office to deal with international newcomers, usually named the International Office. This helps students out with details when it comes to international student life. This office may pair you with a buddy to help you or give you a special number to call for help if you need anything during your study time. 


Outside of classes and university, German people aren’t the most cheerful people but if you ask someone for help in the street, they will help you out. Don’t be fooled by their serious faces. This is just because they are typically serious people who tend to be a bit reserved when it comes to people they don’t know. 

Do you have to know German to study there?

Another question students ask when it comes to international student life in Germany is about the need to know the German language. It’s good to know that you don’t need to be fluent in German to study in German. This applies whether you applied to a program that is in German or in English. Professors and staff at the university are all excellent when it comes to English, so you won’t have any issues in that area.

However, when it comes to the German people themselves, in cities like Berlin and Munich that see a lot of foreigners, most locals are good at English. When it comes to smaller cities, you will need to know a bit of German to be able to communicate on a daily basis and fulfil your everyday needs. 


There are also many degree programs taught in English, especially at the postgraduate (PhD and master’s) level. This means you don’t need to be fluent in German to study in Germany if your program is in English. However, most programs will offer German language courses for their students to get free languages courses for at least one year to learn or improve their German skills. That’s another plus for international student life in Germany!


Read more: Guide to your Psychology master’s degree in Germany in 2023

Will you need to have passed TOEFL or IELTS in order to join an English study program?

In general, you will need to have passed the TOEFL or IELTS exams with an acceptable score to be able to join a study program conducted in English. However, if you were already taking a bachelor’s degree program that was in English, you won’t need TOEFL or IELTS scores. This also applies if your native language is English.  

What is a‘Studienkolleg’ course?

The infamous studienkolleg course in Germany is a one year course for students whose high school diploma wasn’t sufficient to be able to join a bachelor’s degree but want to study at a German university. The course offers subjects of the degree program that can give them a good foundation, as well as intensive German language courses to become proficient in the language. In order to qualify for a bachelor’s program after it, students will need to pass the final assessment to be able to join the German university of their choice as a Bachelor’s student. 


Read more: Top Universities for Architecture master’s degree in Germany for 2023

What are the costs of living in Germany?

When it comes to the costs of living when studying in Germany, rent takes the biggest chunk of money, when it comes to international student life. Most German universities give student accommodation at a reasonable cost but unfortunately, spots are always limited in number. These accommodations are low in cost, ranging at about 300 euros a month, which is a bargain.

If you don’t secure these dorms, you might find it difficult to find student housing in cities like Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Hamburg. You’ll have to look at private housing options or private dorms, which are significantly more expensive than student dorms. Another option is living in a WG or shared student apartment, where you can split the costs of rent and other utilities. 


In general, it will cost you from 850 to 1500 euros per month for all international student life costs of living, including accommodation, food and transportation. The range of costs highly depends on the city you choose to live in and the size of the accommodation, as well as the type of groceries you choose to buy. If you want to go for a cheaper option, you should know that the most expensive cities in Germany are Munchen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt or Heidelberg. Living there will put your costs of living on the higher end of the spectrum, ranging at a cost of around 1000 to 1500 euros per month. 

Is there access to the internet and libraries at German universities?

In general, all German universities provide free internet for the students, and also anyone in the neighbouring area. They also set up emails for their students, as well as library cards. The libraries pertaining to the universities are filled with essential books and text books so that all mandatory reading books can be borrowed without a cost. This means you won’t have to spend much on books during your study journey in Germany. 

How is international student life in Germany when it comes to social life?

Student social life is vibrant for international students in Germany, with many bars, clubs, museums and restaurants to go out to. There are also many festivals and social events to attend, such as the beer festivals, carnivals and film festivals, among many others. There will always be something fun to do when it comes to international student life in Germany! There are also plenty of events organised by universities to improve social life and communication between students. 


If you’re more of a cultural person, there are many museums, castles and lovely natural sites to visit and enjoy. The country is actually full of them! From the Berlin wall to the Reichsyag to the BMW Museum to the Lake Costance and Heidelberg Castle, you’ll truly be spoiled for choice. 

international student life

Will I need to open a German bank account?

It isn’t a necessity but it’s highly recommended to open a German bank account because it will make your daily international student life way easier. If you need to apply for insurance or rent an appartment or join a gym, you’ll need to present bank details so that they can take the money, as it’s usually not possible to pay with cash. Most major transactions happen through credit or debit cards so if you want to make things more convenient for yourself, having a German bank account will make it easier to go about paying your daily expenses, especially recurring payments. 

Can I work while studying in Germany?

If you a foreign citizen, who is not a citizen of an EU country, students who study full time in Germany are allowed to work up to 120 full (or 240 half days) during the year, without needing to contact the German employment authorities for approval. This quota also includes voluntary work placements, whether you are paid for them or not. Another point to keep in mind when it comes to international student life is that you cannot be self employed or work freelance while working this amount of days. 


Can my partner who will come with me to Germany work too?

If you are coming to Germany with your partner, they may also be allowed to work, if they fulfill certain conditions. If you want them to be able to work, make sure you fully disclose this intention while applying for the visa, as if you don’t, this could cause them a significant hurdle.


All in all, studying in Germany can be a pretty simple feat if you know all the right information when it comes to international student life. This guide provides you with the answers to many of the top asked questions by international students who want to come study in Germany. The country is a great place to study with many great universities, interesting culture and awesome employment opportunities after graduation, and during your studies. If you are considering studying there but are worried about international student life, don’t think twice and just go for it! You only live once, after all.. 


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